Home Work & Volunteering
Come and join our Support Circle, every Tuesday, 8 - 9:30pm! Limited spaces available! Sign up here

Am I being unreasonable?

SystemSystem Posts: 8,653 Staff Team
Please tell me if I am being unreasonable and I'll stop going on about it but I want people's opinions.

Right, I have been here in Cadiz, Spain for nearly two weeks working as an au pair/nanny and I'm starting to get a bit tetchy about it all.

Firstly are the working hours. I was, and am prepared to work long hours for little wage - that goes without saying. On a Sunday the mother will write down my hours. For example yesterday it was meant to 9 until 5pm. When we were in contact prior to me accepting the job she said she didnt work 7 days a week although she has worked every day of the 12 days I have been here so far. Anyway, they leave at 8.30 to get to work at 9 and then the 5pm return is always past six, usually getting onto or past seven. Every night she comes in full of excuses and apologies - very nice but nothing changes.

Secondly is her expections of me to care for the boys. She appears to be very "open" to me doing whatever I like with them but then when I say we're not going out of this (may I add tiny and limiting) town shes like oh. She doesn't realise when I take the boys out they get so hot and bothered in the 30+ degrees heat I contend with tantrums and tears constantly all the time being out. I deal with it how I have been taught to deal with behavioural things with the boys from college.

Also their disipline. They let the boys get away with murder. I am tough with them, they don't kick me, shout at me or get away with being cheeky or rude. I tell them straight in a firm voice. They mollycuddle and tiptoe around to please them. For example - the youngest will say he doesnt want the t-shirt you have got out for him. I say it's his choice - this t-shirt or not going to the park. Let him tantrum - he can't go through 100 t-shirts - we'll never leave the house. She would be like ok what one do you like and bring him loads of different ones. He says to me "Get me my drink" when it is on the table next to him and I will say if you would liike a drink get it yourself. He screams and shouts until he is red in the face - I ignore. The mum would get it just to keep the peace.

And probably the factor which is resulting in the above is the sleep. The boys go to sleep between 10 and 11 - after a quick and frantic bath and their mum or dad lies in bed and falls asleep with them. They are always up at 8am. They get 9 hours sleep then do a full 14/15 hour day. The most rest they get during the day is watching a dvd on the sofa. They refuse to nap.

I am fed up with fighting with it. I am not soft with the boys but she made it sound like she wasn't.
Also I know your all going to say talk to her about it and I have hinted and have talked to her about some aspects but I don't like confrontations. :blush:

Please, tell me if I am on the wrong train of thought . . .

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You need to be firmer about your working hours, more than anything. If they're paying you to work 9-5 then you should only be working 9-5. The only danger is that they'll offer you more money to work the longer hours but that's not really what you want.

    If you don't set down your boundaries- working hours and an agreed day off each week- then you will be taken advantage of. You need to sort it out now and you should rely on your initial contact.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think it sounds like a nightmare.How old are they? Can you leave?

    I can understand some of the things, like i wouldnt mind letting them choose their own tshirt (youve got to choose your battles) but I wouldnt stand for them speaking to me like I was their servant or such late bedtimes. Bloody hell, id go mental.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They are 3 and 2 months and 4 and a half - both boys.

    Some of the behaviour is understandable due to how hot it is and their ages but some of it is just unacceptable. The youngest pinched me on the arm the other day because of something I had said - I was like "Don't you ever dare to do that to me again"!
    I personally think all the problems apart from working hours are due to their tiredness. As I type now, the youngest has bags under his eyes. They have no energy - neither do I!

    I can leave whenever I like, but I don't want to go home in the same way I am complaining about it. Very wierd mixed emotions about it all.
    I could go
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It would be perfectly reasonable to ask the mother, or whoever is most ' in charge' of the domestic stuff if the two of you can sit down and re discuss your working hours.

    Is she a single mum or is the dad around? Do you do anything with them in the evening? Do you know anything about their routine before you got there?

    You may well be stuck with the long day time hours, and if that's the case and you're happy to stay then you might be able to come to an agreement where you have all evening every evening off, starting say 15 mins after the first parent gets home.

    Behaviour wise it is very difficult, and with time you'll learn which battles are worth fighting and which aren't. At the moment you are new in the kids lives and they will be testing boundaries and it will take time for them to learn what they can and can't do around you, and what your standards are. As long as the parents don't use different standards when you are actually with the boys then it doesn't matter if you and the parents treat them differently. They will learn who will let them do what.

    If the heat is a problem for you and them, and you think they are tired then maybe adjusting what you do when in the day might help.

    If you're going to the park then go first thing in the morning, let them have a good run around in the cooler part of the day then come home for lunch and have a quiet time after lunch. Somewhere coolish with a bit of a breeze if possible and maybe read them stories, put a story tape or a calm dvd on or let them play quietly. Even if they don't actually nap then they get some quiet time and cool time which will help reduce the problems. Realistically there's very little active stuff you can do with small children in hot climates between 12 and 3pm.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Personally, I would've said they were being unreasonable.

    I second what others have said - you should really talk to their parents about the hours you work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    even my 7 year old is in bed by 8. Thats far too late for thoseages to go to bed. No wonder they play up. My boys are nightmares when theyre tired. Really.
    Hunger, tiredness and heat are the major causes of tantrums. I think you need to deal with that issue as the root cause, before worrying about behaviour which almost certainly stems directly from that.

    I would consider an ultimatum. They need a bedtime routine and to be in bed earlier. It might take a few nights to get them sleeping at that time but it would be worth it
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I just hand over at 7pm when they come home it really isn't my place to be saying what bedtime routine she should be putting them in. I have heard her justify it by saying all spanish kids stay up late. Pft.

    I'm just had enough today. Going to buck up the courage in the next few hours to go down and say that I want to go home. Ekk. Think will look for a UK nanny job - at least now I know what I should be asking and that - making a contract before accepting the job etc.

    Second time luckIER right?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kids in the uk are gonna be no better im afraid. Just be persistant and consistant. My mum used to work as a childminder when i was younger and she looked after a little lad and his younger sister for quite a few years (they were about 3 and 2 when she first started with them i think).
    Now the girl was fine but the lad was a complete terror! His parents were the same as the ones you've described, just let him walk all over them and do whatever he wanted, but my mum was firm with him and like others have mentioned he learnt his boundaries after a while.
    Quite a few years on my mum has stopped childminding now but is still friends with some of the parents she'd worked for and it turns out the tearaway lad is like some kind of super genius now going to a special school for clever people and the psychological reason he was playing up when he ws younger was boredom..or something. Kind of gone off on a tangent here i think but the point i was trying to make is that things are likely to be exactly the same should you find work in england instead. Try discussing your problems with the parents and try to come to some compromise if possible.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    its not so much kids in the UK will be better or worse. Its not them being spanish thats the issue, but being in a shit job AND miles from home is not likely to be much fun.
    It will get no better while toddlers of that age get that little sleep. They should be getting at least 12 hours . Theyre only getting 9
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Finding a nanny job in the UK won't instantly makes things better.

    Looking after someone elses children is going to be hard work, and the challenge is always going to be working with the parents as much as working with the kids.

    If they the culture says they stay up late then that's fine, it also says they have afternoon siestas so you'll need to implement those. Nap time after lunch whether they like it or not, the kids need to lie down in the room with the lights out (even if it's not properly dark). You then sit in the door way and quitely but firmly say back to bed each and every time they try to get up, until it's the end of nap time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    not a bad idea, but I think it sounds like youre unhappy, so dont feel bad if you dont want to see it through. If you and the parents dont see eye to eye on raising children, i think you may be fighting a losing battle
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How did it go, did you talk to the parents or make a decision?

    x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This sounds really bad now and I don't care what people say or think about it BUT

    I told her yesterday and she tried to talk me out of it but at the same time said if I want to go I can go but asked me to think it over. Which means I'm gunna have to bring it up again in the next day or two.

    Anyway so yeah, I've sort of gone and found myself a new job already starting in two weeks in the UK. Completely different job, as someone to work alongside (not sole charge) of two year old twins, girl and boy, boy which has cerebral palsy and is deaf. Thats in the south of the UK so need to get it sorted, book a flight, few days pitt stop at home and then onto this new job.

    And then I can breathe!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    oh and just to add - I've approached this new job much better.

    We are drawing up a contract, she's sent me a list of her expectations and we've talked loads. Also just doing a trial period and have talked to her alot about working hours, disipline, accomadtions just everything.

    All I can do is try. Got plenty of time and nothing to loose.

    I don't ever want to look back when Im old and wrinkley and say "I wish I had had the guts to do that" or "I wish I'd of done X when I was younger".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Seems like a drastic solution. Could the matter not have been resolved/improved by just talking to the parents?!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fair enough.

    One thing to do though is make sure you are not going to have the same problems again.

    Before you start, find out about the current regiemes, what the hours would be, how much flexibility is expected, how often you may be asked to stay late/change your hours. If you're working alongside someone it's also worth knowing how it works if one of you can't be there for some reason, who's in charge and who's responsible for what.

    As you've got a child with very specific medical needs you'll also need more details about those, what kind of special care they need, what you'll be expected to do as far as physio or medication is required and how you respond to any problems.

    It sounds like you've had a few problems with Spain working with the young children and their fickle tempers etc. That's potentially going to be a much bigger problem with a deaf child as one of the obvious lines of communication won't be open to you. Personally I would like to know how he currently communicates, and what the rough plan is for him communicating in the future, be it Makaton, BSL, lip reading or a combination of the above.

    Also, if you've decided you're definitely going then you should tell the current family as soon as possible and see if you can come to an agreement as to when would be best to leave.

    Good luck with it all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't worry! I have covered EVERYTHING.

    It still might not work out but at the end of the day I am going to live with another family - theres always a risk and you can discuss and talk and then things still not work out. It's part of the job - it involves risks.

    Also SM it is not about me "having a few problems with spain working with the young children and their fickle tempers etc". I'm ranting now so ignore me but Im sick of people saying oh could you not just figure it out. I've worked with a lot of children in the past two/three years and I know that these children's behaviour was "out of the norm" and extremely challanging. At the end of the day, I'm here and I have to put up with it and I'm not going to so. Yeah. Decision made.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sorry, it wasn't a critcism of you as such and please accept my apologies if it sounded like that.

    Working with children you also live with is very very different to working with kids in a day care setting. Young kids have very unpredictable tempers and emotions, as you well know, and you'll get a lot more out of the norm when you are on their home patch. It also sounds like are going to get seriously out of the norm with your next job so it's worth getting as much of a heads up as you can about what the differences are between that and what you're used to.

    It sounds like you've learnt a lot from this current job and will be going into the next one much better prepared and I wish you all the best with that.

    Just trying to help with some of the many lessons I learnt doing the live in looking after kids type thing, for kids with very difficult behaviour!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    congratulations on the new job. I hope it proves much more fruitful.

    My impression I got, wasnt that it was just naughty kids, but that it was more of a case of parents taking the piss and therefore you couldnt really do a good job under those conditions, let alone get any enjoyment out of it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My impression I got, wasnt that it was just naughty kids, but that it was more of a case of parents taking the piss and therefore you couldnt really do a good job under those conditions, let alone get any enjoyment out of it.

    :yes: yeah I think the issues were far more the parents than the kids. But that the way the parents are with their kids made it really hard to make them behave when someone else is looking after them as they are really used to being given their own way by their parents, are used to ruling the household and are, due to the parents letting them go to bed so late etc, sleepy irritable children all the time and anything you try to do to change these things will just be 'un-done' or not enforced by the parents so there seems not that much point trying.

    Ashley, I think it's a shame that you didn't feel able to confront the issues with the parents but I do understand how hard it is to do this, I would find it a really hard conversation to have too. And it would equally be hard to get the parents to listen to you anyway e.g. to get them to actually put the kids to bed earlier and that sort of thing. It does seem that you have learnt from this experience though and have taken measures to prevent you getting exploited again in place, like setting out the expectations more formally in advanced etc and you should be really pleased with yourself that you have been able to use what has been quite a tough experience in Gibraltar to learn from it in a positive way. I really hope the new UK job goes really well for you :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Just bear with me. I'm having a crisis on what to do.

    Fucking head is messed up!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What did you decide? :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wonder if the Spanish parents' lack of enthusiasm to discipline their kids is down to their subconcious guilt, because they are rarely there to be with their children?
Sign In or Register to comment.